By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
I don't think I've ever liked one thing about Chad Ochocinco. His only value is on the football field 16 days out of every calendar year, but even that gets compromised from time to time with his never-ending, off-the-field soap opera disguised as a circus.
His latest episode went public Tuesday on—where else?—Twitter.
ESPN's best radio talk-show host, Colin Cowherd, did his job on Tuesday by expressing an opinion about moron athletes. I can't remember if his rant was prompted by the latest Allen Iverson drama or another Ben Roethlisberger sex-abuse allegation.
Regardless, Cowherd went on about how many athletes make bad decisions when presented with boatloads of money. I couldn't agree more.
Now, before we continue, please note there's no disputing that non-athletes make bad choices with their money as well. Some people are bad at sports, others are bad at playing a musical instrument, and still others are bad at making decisions. It's just a part of life that some are good at and others struggle with.
But the reason the exploits of athletes are dissected and discussed the way they are is because they are high-profile citizens in our shallow and fame-obsessed culture. Becoming a high-profile person is partly—maybe largely—what drives some young people to work hard and pursue a career in pro football, for example. Fame, money, cars, and women represent the promised land for many aspiring athletes.
They pursue those material things because to them, jewelry symbolizes a better life from the one that shaped their upbringing. How many times have we heard stories about athletes who made it despite a tough childhood in the ghetto with a single mother who worked three jobs because the alcoholic dad left home?
Despite an absence of proper parental guidance, some athletes remain strong enough to stick to their sport, stay away from the guns and drugs and earn a college scholarship, and perform well enough to earn the notice of professional scouts. Years later, they're midway through a solid pro career, their troubles seemingly behind them.
But just because an athlete doesn't have a felony rap sheet, however, doesn't mean those problems are entirely in the past. Psychological or social shortcomings, certainly far less tangible than a DUI or an assault arrest, don't go away with million-dollar salaries.
Perhaps an absence of attention during childhood is what drove Chad Johnson, years later as an adult, to sport gold teeth, to don a Hall of Fame jacket, and to change his last name to, in his mind, match his jersey number.
Perhaps it's why Terrell Owens kept a Sharpie in his sock. Maybe it's why Allen Iverson is, well, Allen Iverson. Could it be why Ben Roethlisberger seems to find himself in trouble frequently?
A few of my Cincinnati friends sent me a video that made one of the local news channels a couple years ago, when Chad Johnson went on some video-game shopping spree at a Best Buy or something like that. How come we never hear about athletes and their visits to Barnes & Noble?
But back to today's latest, where Ochocinco used the popular microblogging site to lash out at Cowherd for his criticism of athletes and their squandering of money. Cowherd singled out the Bengals wideout for dropping $150,000 on an SUV, claiming he'll end up like former NBA player Antoine Walker, who at one point owned nine luxury vehicles but now can't pay his bills.
Because Ochocinco can't take any criticism because he's a child, here were some of his reactions on Twitter, all within the span of about 50 minutes:
+ Colin coward talking shh?
+ Colin Coward with all the negative going on with athletes how do u find a way to lump me n yo show just say I don't like this black guy!!
+ I guess Colin won't be happy till I get a DUI, arrested, well hell maybe I should get accused of rape, maybe that'll make him STFU!!!!
+ @Reddy_Dean why talk about somebody who does nothing wrong? Talk shows are merely for negative material I don't fit that category.
+ @espn__michelle tell your lil fake Ryan Seacrest never made it in life so I am gonna judge everybody who does what I couldn't do to shutup!
+ @espn_colin its not my fault your girl is cheating on you, its your fault, try EXTENZE and stop worryin about me! Lmao-have a show bout that
+ @espn_colin you look like an extra from the movie LORD OF THE RINGS, get your lisp fixed before you do your next show!
+ Anyway back to being great, time is money and I just lost about awww nevermind, I love y'all, headed into practice